Health Department Reports First Case of Lab-confirmed Rabies for 2024

Environmental Health Services of the Garrett County Health Department reports the first case of laboratory-confirmed rabies for 2024. The raccoon and dog encounter occurred on February 29, 2024, near the Grantsville area.

The dog, whose rabies vaccination was current, found itself in an altercation with a raccoon on the morning of February 29, 2024. The raccoon was successfully euthanized and submitted for rabies testing to the Maryland Department of Health Rabies Laboratory shortly after the incident. The positive rabies results were received on March 1, 2024, and the dog received a rabies booster shot on March 2, 2024.

As the owners did with this case, it is important to remember that if your pet is exposed to a wild or feral animal, do not handle your pet within two hours after contact. If it is necessary to handle your pet, wear protective gloves and immediately wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

If you have been bitten by a wild or feral animal that cannot be captured or exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies, seek medical treatment immediately.

All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to being affected by the deadly rabies virus. The rabies virus is only transferred through the saliva of the infected animal. Signs and symptoms may include neurological signs and changes in the animal’s behavior.

Pet owners are urged to check the vaccination status of their dogs, cats, and ferrets. All dogs and cats are required, by law, to be vaccinated against rabies by four months of age and can be vaccinated as early as three months. The Garrett County Health Department will hold low-cost rabies clinics in May. All dogs, cats, and ferrets at least three months of age will be eligible for vaccination. Persons with questions regarding rabies or rabies clinics should call Environmental Health Services at 301-334-7760.